SJM Prema Theodore Racing’s, Robert Shwartzman takes front row start for Macau’s qualification race
Robert Shwartzman will start the qualification race for the 66th Macau Grand Prix from the front row. The 20-year-old Russian handed SJM Prema Theodore Racing a valuable second place in Friday’s qualifying at the Guia Circuit, which defines the line-up for the first race of the weekend.
The session featured early drama for the team as 19-year-old Kiwi Marcus Armstrong made contact with the barriers at Police corner after setting the initial pace. The incident had no physical consequences, but Armstrong had to stop as the car was too damaged to make its way back to the pits. Although he missed most of the running, his early flying lap was impressive enough to secure ninth place overall. With a close pack of cars and plenty of slipstreams available, there will be good chances to fight and recover for him in tomorrow’s qualification race.
Securing a valuable seventh place was 17-year-old Danish racer Frederik Vesti, who kept progressing in his first endeavour with the challenging 2019-spec Formula 3 car. Vesti emerged as a top contender right away and made the most out of his chances ending up less than two tenths of a second away from the top-3 in row 4.
SJM Prema Theodore Racing now looks on to the first, 10-lap race of the weekend which will set the final grid for Sunday’s 2019 Grand Prix.
#2 – Marcus Armstrong
“Unfortunately I made contact with the barriers early in the session while I was on a really quick lap. I think the pace was there, and my initial lap was still good enough for P9. We have two races, with plenty of chances for overtaking, so nothing is lost and I look forward to fighting back.”
#3 – Frederik Vesti
“In qualifying 2 we had a good run, the car felt great and I improved a lot of things compared to the other sessions. I made some good steps especially in sectors 2 and 3 and we were able to get up to P7 which I’m really happy with. I didn’t expect to be so high in the standings but from practice, we were quite strong, confident in the car and with the tires so I just enjoyed my time!”
#5 – Robert Shwartzman
“Second place is a very good result as we can start from it and then try to win. Finally, we had the chance to show our real pace as it was the first time today none of the yellow or red flags affected my flying laps. I managed to push the car to a high level. I’m a little bit disappointed for missing out on the pole because the last lap was the right one until Melco. I had to brake due to a stopped car but even with that setback, the lap time was close to my previous best. I’m really satisfied with the pace. Now we need to stay cool tomorrow, not make mistakes and end up in the top-3 to fight for the win on Sunday.”